Blogging since 1998. By David Wertheimer

Month: May 2010

links for 2010-05-26

On “Lost”

“Lost” has come to its rather satisfying conclusion, and I’d like to assert a twist on the good/bad, Jack/Locke theme that has wound through the show’s six seasons.
We heard for several seasons about the push and pull of science versus faith. Jack, the doctor, represented the former, of course; Locke, the healed cripple, the latter. The interweaving of Jacob and the Man in Black started to invert this, and the finale brings it all the way around:
Jack represents science-based faith, while Locke represents faith-based science.
The show’s theme is not just science and faith against one another. It’s about how theology can be shaped by exploration and fact, and vice versa. Strict interpretation of science does not succeed without an underlying belief. Strict adherence to ideas without investigation is destined to fail.
The recurrent declarations of “you were right” and “you were wrong” in the final episode underline this concept. Desmond releasing the water and light, proving Jack wrong? Part of the scientific method. The Man in Black becoming mortal? The triumph of curiosity over conviction.
A heavy spirituality of the show’s final scenes shows how much a belief in faith guides “Lost.” By coming full circle–showing that Locke’s philosophical guideposts can indeed thrive, but only when grounded in process and understanding–“Lost” is unquestionably making a statement about the order of the world.
Audiences are slowly putting together the various loose ends in our minds, making peace with the questions we viewers are left to answer on our own. But a definite context now exists from which to consider the show’s six seasons: the triumph of faith when based in science.

links for 2010-05-10

  • On the surface, I like everything about the new Supreme Court Justice nominee. Progressive, open-minded, consensus-building, a Jewish girl raised on the Upper West Side, and a former clerk for Thurgood Marshall? Count me in. (And she may be gay? Fearless Obama!) I love this quote from the article: "'Her open-mindedness may disappoint some who want a sure liberal vote on almost every issue. Her pragmatism may disappoint those who believe that mechanical logic can decide all cases. And her progressive personal values will not endear her to the hard right. But that is exactly the combination the president was seeking.'"
    (tags: politics news)

links for 2010-05-06

  • Jack Shafer, tell us what you really think: "If the infinitely patient and hideously rich Graham can't see a profitable future for the money-losing magazine, that future doesn't exist. The category has finally gone to mold and will, in another 30 months or 30 years, advance to putrefaction."
    (tags: news media)
  • Thoughtful, insightful ideas on Newsweek. "It’s never been print vs. web – it’s attention vs. apathy." Unfortunately, the business model doesn't necessarily support the shifts that seem so logical in Derek's post; if the magazine goes monthly, its share of attention may fall precipitously, which creates that much more of an uphill battle in maintaining relevancy. (Not to mention that "Newsmonth" doesn't have quite the same ring to it.)
    (tags: news media)

The (immediate) demand for evolving your website strategy

From my post on aiaio:

Contemplating how to service users with 1.5″ BlackBerry screens was one thing; dealing with iPad users, with their 1024×768 screens and just-like-a-laptop-only-better expectations, is entirely another. And while the iPad may be just a first step in an evolution, a million unit sales in a month suggests someone found the keys to the steamroller.

It’s easy to forget that the iPad is both a laptop and a mobile device–a blurry line that is only going to get blurrier. I know of a retailer that converted a few thousand dollars in sales on its circa-2007, Flash-enabled website last year … in iPod Touch user sessions. Evolution doesn’t wait.

Relativity in oil

BP appropriately announced Monday that it will bear the full expense of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill cleanup. The cost estimates at this point run past $12.5 billion.
Analysts are wondering if BP will really be on the hook for the full amount, or whether the British government will help with payments to not overburden one of the country’s biggest companies. But BP can handle it: the oil giant’s net profits for 2009 were $20.1 billion. With nearly $30 billion in free cash flow, the cleanup, even if paid in full in 2010, would be a manageable sum. It won’t help profits, but it won’t sink BP, either.
Kudos, then, to BP for bearing responsibility and leading containment efforts. One would hope and expect as much from an oil company that touts alternative fuels.
Update: while my appreciation from a financial effort was nice, there’s still a mess of oil to clean up, and not surprisingly BP is facing heat for the intensity and quality of its actions. Here’s to hoping for some fast successes.

The ROI of transparency

From my post on aiaio:

Suddenly the question shifts from cagey profiteering back to trust. As the questioner remarks, if the patient (client, party-thrower, CPG marketing manager) trusts the adviser, the recommendation of a related business can be more trustworthy, not less.

Posted without further comment except to publicly note my love for the Ethicist.


Dave Pell:

I worry that this pervasive and seamless socialization can ooze into our personal relationships and potentially dilute the value of friendship as well. If I order two copies of photos of my kids so I can send some to you, that is one manifestation of my affection; I “like” you. If I email you those same photos, it’s less effort for me, but the meaning is similar. But what if I share those same photos on a public blog or with a few hundred folks on Facebook? Hasn’t that very personal connection between you and me been watered down?

An old friend called me on Saturday.
“How have you been?” I asked.
“Good, good, just on my way to the supermarket, my 10 minutes of quiet now that the baby’s home.”
“The baby?”
“Yeah, she was born two weeks ago.”
“She was? Congrats! I had no idea.”
“I posted it on Facebook, didn’t you see it? That was basically my one communication to the outside world.”
Not long ago big news was delivered via telephone. Then, for a while, email moved in. Now we’re onto notifications, posted to third-party locations on the assumption that everyone of consequence is dialed into them. What’s the next step? How much between now and then might we miss?

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